This Guerilla Toss article was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.
On ‘Eraser Stargazer’, Guerilla Toss continue the colourful chaos that made their last EP ‘Flood Dosed’ so enjoyable and memorable. The New York psychedelic noise act have gone for quality over quantity on this release; the album clocks in at just under half an hour, and what it lacks in longevity and scope, it makes up for in how brutally bizarre it gets.
Production-wise, a rainbow has been rinsed over the instrumentation; everything sounds so unbelievably colourful. And this isn’t even happy-go-lucky, unicorn-type colour; it’s a purple haze, a green mist, a black and blue bruise, a red bloodstain and a big, orange fiery blaze all in one. Every single song on this album shows off this attribute of the band and the style of their sound, even the intro track ‘Multibeast TV’, bass guitars wobble around, drums rattle with real rawness, and many other dabs and blobs float away in the background, some fairly nice attentions to detail.
The sound is also fairly polished, but it’s polished in a great way that actually complements that wackiness. You’d expect an album with this kind of edgy approach to be backed up with just-as-edgy, just-as-raw, almost lo-fi production, but the clearness of the recordings allow nothing to be left to the imagination, the listener will get a great sense of everything. The best example of this is on the second track, ‘Diamond Girls’; sound effects, guitars and unhinged drumbeats can easily be picked out.
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The style of songwriting and choice of instrumentation fit well together. The synth aspects coupled with experimental, worldbeat-type layers are fairly reminiscent of The Knife’s more psychedelic output; particularly on ‘Color Picture’, you could picture it on ‘Shaking the Habitual’ or ‘Deep Cuts’. The vocals – mind you – are distinct and involve a much different type of whimsy than you’d find other female singers doing.
So, let’s take a look at the vocals. The most memorable line of the record might be the loud bellow of “eraser…stargazer!” on ‘Eraser Stargazer Forever’, though that take hardly sums up the vocal approach. If you’ve heard a Guerilla Toss album before you’d be aware of the odd narratives alongside weird and wonderful deliveries, and that style is nearly perfected here, for the most part anyway. The vocals really do hammer away, they yell and cry and screech.
There is somewhat of a lack of scope, brought on by a lack of range, but that’s mainly unimportant. The flow and pacing has its ups and downs; you can definitely call this album consistent, and while every song sure is likeable, it’s hard to find any to be considered completely loveable. ‘Eraser Stargazer’ is its own adventure, not tied down by any individual tracks whether it be for better or worse. The most enjoyable moment as far as the flow goes might be the start of the track ‘Perfume’, which has a nice, optimistic, energetic synth movement.
‘Eraser Stargazer’ hits home, thanks to a fun sense of imagination, and an overall succulent soundscape.
‘Eraser Stargazer’ is out now via DFA Records.